Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving and Cat Tree

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I went up to my brother's place on the Tennessee River. Thursday afternoon, they not only taught me how to shoot a gun for the first time, but also built a cat tree for me.

Here's my brothers Dan and Bob standing on either side of my new cat tree, on Friday afternoon. They don't always dress in camo, they were about to go hide in the bushes and attempt to splatter each other with paint guns. After seeing the bruises those paint balls can leave, I've decided it's not MY idea of fun, I'd rather be quilting... :)

This is a better picture of the Tennessee River, you can see a glimpse of it in the picture above. His house has a great view of the river, and it's fun to sit in the living room or at the kitchen table and watch the big barges go by.

This is the back of his house - his wife has the big bow window just full of all kinds of plants and flowers, growing on shelves and on a fountain and a trellis thing, they love the sun, and are just beautiful. The big arched windows above that let in a lot of light - on Wednesday night we saw a thunderstorm go past, and the lightning show was great! From a distance, of course. :D

One of my nephews is a welder, and he made the wrought iron trim and stair rail and balcony. Bob, on the right in the picture at the top, is a builder, and built this house - actually it's a work in progress, every time I go up there, he and his wife have added more detailing on the inside and outside.

Not much to report on the quilting front, I've done most of the binding on a quilt I've had sitting around forever, waiting to be bound. I wanted to do this one by hand, and it's taken me a LONG time - another few feet to go and I'll be done. And I've got all the pinwheel blocks done and half of them sewn on to the center, I DID decide to go with the blue next to the purple instead of doing it all one color. In fact, I think that's what I'll go work on now.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Retreat and Linda's Classes

The last few pictures and stuff from retreat! Here's my Winter dreamwatcher fairie, from Linda Poole's class. I really enjoyed taking her class, even though I didn't use the freezer paper applique technique she taught, I learned how to do it, and would like to try it on another project. She's a great teacher, and a very sweet person, besides. :)

I plan to add a snowman on her right side there, the sort with stick arms and a scarf and knit hat, I also have a bunch of little crystal snowflakes to sew on. The penny is on there for some idea of scale - I made mine small so she could be ¼ of a seasonal fairie wall hanging. You've seen Summer several posts down, I still have Spring and Fall yet to do.

And here's the bended bias butterfly class with their butterflies in progress. Linda's the third one from the left, standing, and not holding a butterfly. You can click on any of these pictures to get a bigger version:

Christine (flippytale quilter - here's her blog) got her big king size quilt top all put together, and used the large tables at the retreat center to baste the three layers:

And she even managed to recruit some assistance:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Wonky Squares Revisited

From the comments I've gotten with the last post, people seem to think this might be a difficult quilt to put together, far from it! I went to my EQ and colored the sashings white (the better to see you with, my dear... lol) On MY version of the mystery, I used 4 inch squares, because you can find them so easily on e-Bay, already pre-cut, any theme you want. They're also easy to cut, 20 from a FQ. My sashing was 1½ inches wide. I like to strip piece, so I cut long strips of sashing, sewed down my squares, cut them apart, and added the sashing on the other side. My version made 9 inch blocks.

Can you see the sidewise 8 in the block? Tilt your head to the right. (: As you're putting your sets of 4 sashed squares together, look for the 8 shape to make sure you're laying them out right.

The block is called Patience Corners. If you google 'patience corners quilt block' you'll find a page of links. It's on Quilter's Cache, under the P's. Marcia did it as a 12 inch block, with thicker sashing. If you look around the web, you'll see it with scrappy sashing and all one color square too, the opposite of what I've done here. I also found it as a charity pattern, with 5 inch pieced blocks - and thought it'd be a great setting for crumb blocks.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wonky Squares Mystery

Well, here's the mystery I taught at the guild's retreat. I posted the palette of fabrics a long time ago, but didn't dare show any more of the quilt top coming together. Finally, the Wonky Squares mystery is over and you get to see the whole top, finished:

I wanted to try something different with the border, so decided to make three of the blocks into escapees. Here's a closeup. I used dryer sheets to sew to the right side of my three squares, then trimmed a hole in the sheet and pulled the square thru. Finally, I used a blanket stitch to applique them down. I'm tempted to add another block and a half to this, to make it look like they're escaping all the way off the top completely:

Here's three of the quilts that were finished in my class. I didn't ask permission to use their names on my blog, but here's their quilt tops! They all did a great job, and it was fascinating to see the same design in different colors. First, P.M.'s all-batik version with bright yellow sashing:

And G.E.'s I-Spy version with sashing that's my very favorite color, forest green. G's the hair you see near the middle. Over on the right, you'll see C.T.'s one block with maroon sashing and NO florals or feminine prints (she has 47 more done, just not sewn together) meant for a guy type quilt:

And finally, S.M.'s pink and yellow and green baby quilt sized top, with purple sashing, that will be a quilt for a 1 year old little girl:

An easy mystery class, and some great results, don't you think?


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Square Dance Quilt

Well, here's one of the things I worked on at the retreat this past weekend, a small quilt based on the technique in the book 'Square Dance' by Martha Thompson:

Bright, isn't it? I started by sewing a 7x9 grid of 6 inch squares, with a 3 inch border in purple, then drew a template, traced around it on my grid-fabric, then cut the plain squares up according to her instructions. I was surprised how much it shrunk when I rotated the little squares and sewed them back together to make my pinwheels.

Now I have a pile of three inch squares (produced when you hack the plain blocks apart) that I plan to put on the outer border, but the inner rectangle is so much smaller than expected that I need to add some blocks to it to make it bed-sized. There's lots of the purple fabric left, and I also have the exact same tone on tone print but in royal blue, same color value, that would look good in there too.

Here's my dilemma - Should I make the whole quilt with a background of purple... or use some blue as background for the pinwheels to break up the purple a bit? Or should I make some of the other borders blue? I can bind it in blue OR purple. Which of the following two EQ6 design pictures do you prefer? The actual blue/purple fabric color difference is more subtle than the colors you see here:

More on the retreat when I get more pictures ready to post! I also taught a class and have some photos from that, and took a class and have some things from that to show you. :)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Some Fall Finishes

First, here's my challenge block for my retreat this coming weekend. As we registered for the retreat, we got a square of challenge fabric, and had to make a 12½ block with it, using at least an inch of the fabric. I got this block pattern from Quilter's Cache.   It's all paper pieced, and it's called 'Wild Zinnias.'   The challenge fabric is the stripe on the outer corners and middle. We got an 8½ square, and I used just about all of it.

It was almost like an ugly fabric challenge for me, because I did not like the challenge fabric at ALL - reminded me of fried eggs... and on lime green, not my favorite color! :) I had a difficult time finding fabric to go with it, since it's out of my normal comfort zone.

I also finished the Patriotic quilt top this weekend:

I think I'll end up binding it in red, after it's quilted, but that'll be a long time away, gotta save some money up first.

And while I was out in the backyard, hanging quilts and blocks on the fence to get some natural light, I noticed that the leaves on my oak tree were just starting to change. Most of the leaves are still green, but some of the outer ones are starting to turn:

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